Bright Day

On this bright but cold day, the birds were definitely out in force at Canemah.

Fluffed up song sparrow

Fluffed up song sparrow

At one point along our walk I simply stood and marveled at the little flocks of sparrows, towhees, junos, kinglets, and chickadees that fluttered near the path. Their noise provided a perfect soundtrack to the day.

Ferns and sunlight

Ferns and sunlight

Pattern and Light

Today (written 1/1/2014) as we were walking through a foggy Canemah park, it was unusually quiet. The birds, which provide most of the interest this time of year, had obviously found somewhere warm and try to hole up.

As we walked, I got to thinking about light and dark. In the Pacific Northwest we are blessed with a lot of very soft light. Unlike in Arizona or Greece, where the light provides true whites, in Oregon we have a lot of grey. Yet when I look at this seed pod, I am fascinated.

Blackberry seedpod up close

Blackberry seedpod up close

That got me thinking about pattern. I’m drawn to it, but don’t often use it to its fullest extent in my paintings.

Maybe I should work on this in 2014.

Winter in Canemah

Today (written Sunday, 12/29/13), in between dropping things off at the gallery and battling with this website, I took Finn for a walk in Canemah. It’s always amazing to me that this little stretch of “wilderness” is right here in the city. It’s not really a park, more like habitat; in fact, Canemah contains a variety of Northwest habitats: oak savannahs, Douglas Fir stands, madrona woods, and wetlands.

Almost any time of year a hike provides tons of “salient detail” as an artist friend of mine once said. In addition to the natural areas, there is an old pioneer cemetary and before that, the terrain has been shaped by years of cultivation by Native Americans. In the spring the camas coats the terrain and summer provides stretches of fresh berries, igniting my imagination about foraging off the land.

This time of year the landscape is more barren than usual, but walking through it is still an adventure. The birds challenge with their calls, a few early chorus frogs warm up their vocals, the trees bend and creek a greeting.

Dead tree bark at Canemah, 12/29/2013

Dead tree bark at Canemah, 12/29/2013

Textures are more apparent than in the spring. Nothing here is smooth; everything is dry or crinkly, twisted or broken. But that doesn’t make it less beautiful. Today a new tree had come down and its bark and moss were starting to dry out. The color is amazing, pale yet distinct.

Tree bark with moss, 12/29/2013

Tree bark with moss, 12/29/2013

A little further I saw a madrona leaf that had clearly had an interaction with something, but I don’t know if that’s a food trail or a path.

Madrona leaf with trail, 12/29/2013

Madrona leaf with trail, 12/29/2013

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